Hard News by Russell Brown

Some stuff

There's not really any need for me to weigh in at length on the Salient business, what with the mobilisation of the Former Student Media Blog Mafia. You can read Tze Ming (whatever happened to that cultural ban on not cheeking one's elders, eh?), Mr Nippert of NYC and Lyndon Hood for the lowdown. I'll content myself by observing that VUW management have shot themselves squarely in the foot.

A source in the US has kindly drawn my attention to some advance (and not yet widely circulated) clips from the new John Kerry campaign fly-on-the-wall documentary, Inside the Bubble, whose effect is generally not to flatter those involved. For general atmosphere there's the promo (bad words bleeped) . Then there's the nutting off over the Times magazine cover, the monumentally off-task pony episode. And there's Kerry's pre-debate training. The Republicans, wisely, didn't have anyone filming their private moments …

Read Synthetic Thoughts on the "big six" movie studios' plans for an anti-piracy research consortium, whose plans seem to me to involve an alarming degree of sniffing, snooping and network sabotage.

My occasional correspondent Ztev is a global warming sceptic who distinguishes himself by pointing to actual evidence rather than merely making assertions. Responding to the recent stories about Arctic melting, he cites this 1990 paper and this 2002 Telegraph story, which both note evidence that while the Arctic might be melting, the Antarctic is mostly cooling.

But more recent work from the British Antarctic Survey, which conducts the most thorough ongoing research programme, is far from reassuring. BAS scientists concluded earlier this year that the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change may actually have lowballed estimates on the contribution of Antarctic melting to sea level rise. Essentially, the East Antarctic Ice Sheet is thickening - as predicted by some models - as a result of climate change, but two other areas are thinning quite dramatically. "In the last 50 years," the BAS researchers say, "the Antarctic Peninsula has warmed faster than anywhere else on Earth."

The BAS researchers also conducted work this year that they believe "points the finger squarely at CO2 rather than the ocean currents" as the trigger for past atmospheric warming incidents. In short: the news on Antarctica is not good either.

And here's something remarkable. NBA player Etan Thomas of the Washington Wizards addressed the recent anti-war protest in Washington. It's as much a performance as it is a speech, and it's quite spellbinding. Democracy Now has video, audio and a transcript here.

PS: I'll be interviewing Nandor Tanczos on the past six years and where-to-now on my 95bFM Wire show at 12.30 tomorrow. It should be good value.